Unmasked

Russian GRU Agent Linked to Downing of MH17: Report

A mysterious man wanted in connection with the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine appears to be a high-level Russian military intelligence officer. A joint investigation from Bellingcat, The Insider, and McClatchy’s DC Bureau found the man previously only known by the call sign “Orion” is in fact Russian officer Oleg Vladimirovich Ivannikov. The day after the downing of the plane, the Ukrainian security service published an intercept dated two days before the incident in which Orion said: “We got a BUK now ... so we start shooting the hell out of their planes.” A team of investigators concluded Thursday that the flight was shot down using a Russian military missile system known as the BUK system. When contacted by investigators, Ivannikov refused to come to the phone.